Free Solo

by Kelsi in ,


 

Last year I simply posted this when news broke that Alex Honnold had climbed El Capitan without ropes. You can now go see the film about his awe-inspiring achievement…

On June 3, 2017, Alex Honnold free soloed the Freerider route of El Capitan in three hours and 56 minutes. It wasn’t an act of recklessness but of the kind of planning worthy of a moon landing. It wasn’t an act of selfishness but an extraordinary gift to everyone who believes that the limit of human achievement is far from being reached. It wasn’t a useless stunt but a reminder that utility alone is a poor way to measure the grandeur of one man’s spirit.

From here.

 

November 4

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

Last Friday I had the day off so after we dropped our kids at school, my friend Megan and I had big plans…a 1000 piece puzzle and making Samin’s salad from that last episode. M dubbed it “Friendship Salad.” There is a lot of joy to be had in cooking side by side and sharing a good meal. It was a fine day.

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I love this puzzle by the way. I’m a sucker for fonts in general but these collage puzzles are super satisfying because you can constantly make progress - the perfect balance of challenge/reward. I just picked up this one too

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I am excited to host a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year and have been starting to think about what I want to cook. I like to roast chickens instead of turkey and am going to go heavy on the vegetable sides this year. I just bought these gorgeous Staub baking dishes in matte black that I can’t wait to put on the table…

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Before Thanksgiving, I’m putting one of them to use to make this dreamy cauliflower from David Tanis. He’s so great and I love his latest cookbook Market Cooking that my friend Rita gave me for my birthday…

  Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

I also just bought a second Instant Pot, an 8 quart this time, to keep up with my stock making this year - though I’ll have no trouble putting two to use for more things than stock. Homemade stock is a game changer for everything and the Instant Pot really makes it quick and foolproof. I love Melissa Clark’s chicken and vegetable stock recipes. They are included in her newest book, Comfort in an Instant, as well as her original Dinner in an Instant

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I’m also starting to play with baking gluten-free bread and this is a great starting guide

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From making stock and baking bread, I’m all about cooking for cooler fall weather. But I also love dressing for fall too and have happily transitioned my wardrobe. My uniform is pretty much always a sweater, jeans and either hightop Vans or ankle boots. And my most favorite jeans right now come from AGOLDE. Even if high-waisted jeans go out of fashion, I will never go back! These are perfect…

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And these

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Lastly, I love everything about this look. I need to find that sweater…

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Busy is a Decision

by Kelsi in , ,


 

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?

My billboard would say this: “Busy is a decision.” Here’s why: Of the many, many excuses people use to rationalize why they can’t do something, the excuse “I am too busy” is not only the most inauthentic, it is also the laziest. I don’t believe in “too busy.” Like I said, busy is a decision. We do the things we want to do, period. If we say we are too busy, it is shorthand for “not important enough.” It means you would rather be doing something else that you consider more important. That “thing” could be sleep, it could be sex, or it could be watching Game of Thrones. If we use busy as an excuse for not doing something what we are really, really saying is that it’s not a priority.

Simply put: You don’t find the time to do something; you make the time to do things.

We are now living in a society that sees busy as a badge. It has become cultural cachet to use the excuse “I am too busy,” as a reason for not doing anything we don’t feel like doing. The problem is this: if you let yourself off the hook for not doing something for any reason, you won’t ever do it. If you want to do something, you can’t let being busy stand in the way, even if you are busy. Make the time to do things you want to do and then do them.

- Debbie Millman

From Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

 

October 21

by Kelsi in , , , , ,


 

Samin Nosrat’s book Salt Fat Acid Heat was one of my most favorite cookbooks last year and I have given it as a gift several times. She is a talented teacher and I loved watching her four-part series on Netflix this weekend. I especially loved the last episode where she prepares a gorgeous roasted vegetable salad at home and hosts friends for dinner. I am so inspired I have revisited her cookbook and am reading it cover to cover…

It was only a matter of time - I caught my first cold of the fall/back-to-school season last week. Time to start taking daily immune support. This one is my favorite

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I also consumed a lot of strong ginger and lemon tea with raw honey. You can make a big batch of ginger juice in the blender, but now that I have a proper ceramic ginger grater it is easier than ever to grate ginger in seconds. I can’t imagine not having this little tool in my kitchen

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Re-inspired by Samin I have spent the bulk of my weekend in the kitchen. Making chicken stock in the Instant Pot, our favorite cookies and a batch of the best granola

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I have also made this caramelized onion and lentil pilaf from Nigella Lawson twice this week. It is so easy, economical and delicious. I would happily eat it for breakfast, maybe with some sautéed spinach…

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While in the kitchen I’ve been listening to a lot of Bach, a perfect companion - particularly if Yo-Yo Ma is involved

Speaking of Yo-Yo, his conversation with Krista is pure joy. What a gift of a human being he is. I also loved this recent conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama and Marilyn Nelson.

These are the kind of things we need for the tired spaces of our world. This is the way we need to move forward in a world that is so interested in being comforted by the damp blanket of bad stories. We need stories of belonging that move us towards each other, not from each other; ways of being human that open up the possibilities of being alive together; ways of navigating our differences that deepen our curiosity, that deepen our friendship, that deepen our capacity to disagree, that deepen the argument of being alive. This is what we need. This is what will save us. This is the work of peace. This is the work of imagination.
— Pádraig Ó Tuama

We spent last weekend in the hills outside Santa Cruz at a family wedding. It was an incredible party and there was an amazing band so we all threw down and danced the night away. I finally got a chance to wear this gorgeous dress from Doen

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And my favorite earrings from Annie Costello Brown. They make any outfit an outfit.

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Saturday

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

I am wrapping up the last of my two-week break and head back to the studio on Monday. It has been such a gift to have an extended period of time to slow down and recharge. I did cross off several things on my to-do list but also was deliberate about not trying to accomplish too much. I took a few naps while my son was at school, I took long walks with a friend and had an indulgent lunch at Le Pichet with champagne. I am profoundly grateful and happy to be here and am ready to get back at it on Monday…

  Le Pichet

Le Pichet

Today we all slept in and have been enjoying a lazy day at home. I’ve been cleaning out the kitchen drawers and re-organizing my pantry…

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I also hope to get to my closet this evening and transfer some summer stuff over to these under bed storage cases I picked up at Ikea last week…

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The weather has cooled and we’ve had some long overdue rain showers and the last of my summer crops are reflecting the change. I’ve harvested the last of my lettuce - this one was stellar. I hope to find more of that variety next year. We’ve been eating it all week tossed with this fantastic tahini ranch dressing

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Last night there was no lettuce and I was solo for dinner and lacking motivation. I ate a bowl of potato chips and a glass of wine for dinner. Keeping it real. By the way, these chips are so good. And doesn’t Heath Ceramics make everything look amazing - even potato chips?! I picked up these little black bowls a few weeks ago when we were in San Francisco…

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I also bought a few new things during my break starting with this killer lipstick from Kosas. I don’t swipe it on but rather press it on with my finger (even a bit on my cheeks) so it looks more like a stain. Don’t let the bright color scare you off, it creates a beautiful flush and is incredibly flattering…

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I love this look below…

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I couldn’t find a similar track jacket but happily settled for this classic Adidas one that I’ll wear both at the studio and under my oversized tweed jacket…

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I also picked up this cozy and crazy affordable sweater jacket

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And this one too but in the dark green (I had to size down on this one)…

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The last thing I need is yet another pair of boots, but if you need a great everyday pair I think these look pretty great…

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Bees Knees

by Kelsi in


 

I am now posting a third mezcal cocktail of the summer. Paloma slushies, our house margarita and now this perfect little number, the Bees Knees. If it wasn't already obvious, Mezcal is my spirit of choice. 

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This one is fantastic year-round and ticks all the right boxes.

BEES KNEES

2 oz mezcal

1 oz honey syrup (recipe below)

Juice of one lemon

Shake and pour over ice (I like these big cube molds for this)

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HONEY SIMPLE SYRUP

1/2 cup medium hot (not boiling) water

1/2 cup honey

Whisk together until honey dissolves and then allow to cool before storing in the fridge. I like these swing top bottles for this.

 

 

 

Simple Pleasures

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

We are enjoying a quiet long weekend at home before getting back into the regular swing of things with school starting this week. Like last year, I am taking the first part of September off to not only help ease us back into school life at home, but to spend two weeks recharging myself and gearing up for the new year ahead. To me September feels more like a time of renewal than January 1st does. 

I have a few house projects on my list, like repainting the hallway,  and lots of purging/organizing endeavors. But I'm also finding time just to think and work on an upcoming creative project that I'm really excited about.

I've finally started an Instagram account for the blog so you can also find me here.

The weather this weekend has been stellar. Comfortably warm but with a bit of a chill in the air that seemed to happen as soon as the calendar flipped to September 1. These are perfect conditions to spend time in the garden.

 

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I harvested the last of my cucumbers and my Row 7 potatoes which were a  huge winner. I'm devoting an entire bed to them next year. I also started moving plants around and cleaning out crops past their due and cutting back the blackberry vines that take over my front slope this time of year. 

I wrote about Floret Farm's book at the end of last summer and followed through and ordered Dahlia tubers from her in the spring. These giants are lighting up the front yard right now...

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I've been making watermelon juice that is even more refreshing than the gazpacho I've been downing the last two days. If you don't have a juicer, simply blend up the watermelon in a blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer and let it chill until it's good and cold. When you're ready to drink, squeeze half of a lime in your glass and a pinch of salt.

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It is summer in a glass...

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I have loved watching All or Nothing: Manchester City. LOVED. Go watch it.

I also just finished reading Attachments which was recommended by my mother-in-law (Hi Pierr!). It is such a perfect summer read - great dialogue, smart and incredibly funny. I couldn't stop reading and read it all in one go...

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My hair is the longest it's ever been and after a summer of playing in both the surf and sun the ends are bit fried. I love Weleda products and just discovered this rosemary hair oil. I've been putting it on my ends (and even my scalp) before bed and washing it out in my morning shower. It has made a world of difference. You can also find it here...

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I've also been using this wonderful salt scalp scrub shampoo (say that three times fast) the last two months. You use it just once a week though I really want to use it daily I look forward to it that much...

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Also in need of a little TLC after the summer heat and constant sunscreen, my skin needs a little decongesting and I super love this new Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial from Biossance...

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I'm looking forward to testing out their new deodorant...

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I bought a few of these air-purifiers recommended by Wirecutter this spring during allergy season and the difference was immediate. After one night, we all woke up with cleared sinuses. Fast forward to last month when Seattle was hit hard from wildfire smoke. We were so grateful to have these in our house. I also bought one for my studio...

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I'm really liking these twin-line flossers. They are also helpful for teaching my six year old how to floss...

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And I have a new pair of favorite jeans. These relaxed boyfriend ones from Everlane remind me of my old 501s from high school. I have the vintage sky blue wash below...

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But I have my eye on the washed black ones as well...

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Best Gazpacho

by Kelsi in


 
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It is that time of year. The tomatoes in my garden are overflowing. The best thing to do with a bumper crop of tomatoes? Make the Best Gazpacho from the NY Times. Spectacularly easy and so refreshing. Just make sure you plan ahead so it can chill until very cold...

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BEST GAZPACHO (adapted slightly from the NYT)

About 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks

1 long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

1 cucumber, about 8 inches, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small mild onion (white or red), cut into chunks

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, more to taste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil into a high speed blender. Blend on high until very smooth, about two minutes. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. 

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula. Discard the solids. Transfer to a large glass pitcher and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Summer, Summer, Summertime

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

We are deep in summer mode over here. And it seems like the days are blitzing by faster than ever.

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My husband has been traveling non-stop and luckily we were able to tag along on one of his recent work trips to Maui of all beautiful places. We rented a very simple VRBO in a great location and played in the ocean from 7:30am on. 

I packed all the essentials...

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My suitcase was nearly identical to the one I took on our little trip to the beach last May. It's worth mentioning Suntegrity face sunscreen (I use the light shade) yet again. It is THE best and kept me well protected even while spending the entire day in the surf and the sun. Also these GoToob containers are new to me but they are fantastic. Easy to fill, easy to clean and spill-proof...

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Back home we are in the middle of a heatwave and I've been on the hunt for a great linen dress. I just ordered this one which has great potential...

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And while most of my yard is looking a bit toasty and dried out, my tomatoes and my Row 7 cucumbers are going gangbusters...

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Since I was solo for dinner tonight I happily ate the entire batch of this smashed cucumber salad straight out of the mixing bowl standing at the kitchen counter...

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And washed it down with a cold beer. This gluten-free blonde ale from local Ghostfish Brewing Company is really hitting the spot on these hot days...

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My sister-in-law just welcomed her third baby girl a week ago. We stopped by over the weekend to drop off food in exchange for some serious brand new tiny baby holding. I made this great turkey meat loaf from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Easy that I mentioned here. (I like the Mary's free-range ground turkey for this which you can find locally at Metropolitan Market.) If you don't have the book, Pamela Salzman posted the recipe here...

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I also made a double batch of this simple carrot salad (without the sunflower seeds and avocados). It is so simple and refreshing. And for a treat I made these peanut butter and jelly crumble bars (also from Pamela Salzman). I personally enjoy them straight from the freezer.

As the summer days continue to fly by, I am finding that no matter how pared down the schedule and how free and purposely unscheduled the days are, there is never enough time. Most of my days are filled with the household tasks that our lives are made of without room for much else. Books I've started are languishing on the nightstand. I have a list of things I'd love to work on. Number one on that list is revisiting my Spanish language study. And also doing a little Pilates matwork in the cool basement. I'd even love to just watch a show or two (I'm looking at you Killing Eve). But alas, by the time the chores are done, my son is in bed and I've prepped what needs to be prepped for the next day it is already bedtime.

Maybe there will be some extra time in the near future. And maybe not.

Right now my task is to be fully here. And as I type this, I'm sitting contentedly on the sofa in the dark with all the windows open, a lukewarm breeze coming through and I spy Venus out in the distance hanging high above in a perfectly clear sky.

 

 

 

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

by Kelsi in , ,


 
The most radical thing about him was his unwavering commitment to the value of kindness in the face of the world that could seem intent on devising new ways to be mean. “Let’s make the most of this beautiful day,” he would sing at the start of each episode. He made it sound so simple, but also as if he knew just how hard it could be.

"What Mister Rogers tried to teach us — how to navigate “some of the more difficult modulations” in everyday life — might now be classified as emotional literacy. He acknowledged that anger, fear and other kinds of hurt are part of the human repertoire and that children need to learn to speak honestly about those feelings, and to trust the people they share them with."

Read the whole NYT review here